Amazon EC2 Citrix XenApp Scalability Analysis

As IT organizations consider their future infrastructure management plans, cloud computing comes into focus as a method of increasing computing capacity when there is an immediate need and without the
capital expenditure associated with investment in new infrastructure. Amazon’s EC2 cloud closely follows the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) paradigm, which means it is a complete virtualized platform
environment where IT customers purchase servers, software, data center space and network equipment as a fully outsourced service. In our case, we requested a fully functional Windows 2003 Operating
System that could communicate directly with our existing infrastructure. The Infrastructure as a Service paradigm of cloud computing provides several benefits over a typical data
center expansion:

  • You do not need to add any new hardware, software, or network capacity – you can supplement sections of your current datacenter in the cloud and move forward with increased capacity.
  • A virtual machine instance is dynamically scalable – if the server requires more resources like memory or processor power, an image can be taken and placed on a larger virtual machine instance.
  • You have immediate access to more resources when needed.

With Infrastructure as a Service steadily reaching maturity as an accepted method of delivering computing power on‐demand over the Web, the Citrix Product Development Team set out to test the
scalability of Citrix XenApp on Windows 2003 virtual machine instances within Amazon’s Xen‐powered EC2 cloud. Our goals were to gather the specific maximum user limit for each Windows virtual machine
type offered in the Amazon EC2 cloud by using EdgeSight for Load Testing to simulate user interactions and monitor performance characteristics of each simulation.

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